Sunday, October 31, 2010

That boo is me boo-ing being sick, but I guess it also fits today..happy halloween! Halloween isn't nearly as big of a deal here in Spain as in the US, but it is celebrated. From what I can gather, it isn't as light hearted, like the fun costumes and candy we're used to. Of the little bit of costumes or makeup I've seen, it celebrates the darker side...lots of blood, ghouls, skeletons...dead things I suppose. The girls in the one family who was living here last year said they got one piece of candy last Halloween! Disappointing, I'm sure. So, I have no real halloween plans for today, other than trying to feel better.
I felt this cold coming on two days ago and tried to fight it with my Zicam as best I could...but alas, I failed. I woke up stuffy yesterday and overnight last night I got headache-y and a little feverish. I'm feeling better this afternoon, as I took something for my headache and ate some homemade chicken soup made by the mom of the family I'm staying with. She made it a few days ago, but was kind of enough to offer it to me! So delicious. But I think its a good day to pop in a movie and curl up for a bit.
Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Up in the hills

Well life suddenly sped up! I moved to another house and started teaching in the past few days. I had been staying with members of the team in town until the house where I am staying became available. I tell you, I'm getting good at packing up my belongings into suitcases and hitting the road! First from LA back home, then across the Atlantic and around a small town in Spain :) Keeps life interesting, right?

I think I'm settled though, at least for a while. I am staying in the bottom level of a house up on the side of a hill. I spent 4 years living in a valley in LA, looking up at the hills and now I am up on the hill, overlooking a huge valley in Malaga! Technically, I am in the "basement," but being on the side of a hill, its really just the bottom level. I have windows and a door that leads down to the lower patio and garden. I hope to spend this weekend arranging and setting up, then I will post some pictures.

I've also begun teaching this week! I have 2 super sweet, very eager little students! I wasn't really planning to begin digging in with academics until next week, so they'd have a week to adjust to this huge transition in their lives, but they couldn't wait to start school! We had a good time playing and getting to know each other the first day, Tuesday, and each day I've slowly started introducing each subject. One girl is 4th grade, and the other is kindergarten. I'm already discovering the challenges of having 2 different ages at the same time, but once we figure out our routines and get to know each other better I'm sure things will fall in place.

And apparently Monday is some holiday here, so the schools have off...3 day weekend!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Market Fun

It's a beautiful 70-ish degrees outside today, and I am going to venture out to the market to do some food shopping. I am currently staying with another member of the CRM team here in Spain, Lily, and she's been kindly feeding me for the past 24 hours. We actually went to a large mercado (market) in Malaga on Saturday, and had fun exploring the stalls that sold fresh fruit and veggies, and whole aisles of fresh fish and seafood, then aisles of meats and cheeses. It was crowded and loud and overwhelming, but that's what makes it fun! Thanks to my lack of knowledge of the metric system, I almost bought over 2 pounds of bananas, but luckily Lily stopped me and pointed out how many bananas that would be! So I told the guy to stop at less than 1 kilo, instead of getting 2 kilos. Then he asked me questions about where I was from, what I did for a living, was I married!? All in Spanish, which made it the longest exchange I've had with a local in Spanish thus was a little stressful! I'm hoping the feeling of slight panic when someone speaks to me in Spanish will subside eventually, as I get more comfortable with the language!
Anyway, after we were finished at the market, it was lunchtime so we walked a little further into the main pedestrian area to get some bocadillos for lunch. A bocadillo is basically a sandwich, and I like getting some of the Spanish jamon (ham) and cheese on the yummy crusty bread they have everywhere.  I'll have to start taking some more food pictures, because I'm one of those people who likes to remember everything I eat when I travel...I've had some really yummy tapas as well!
I don't know if I'll actually start teaching this week, but I will spending some time with the girls setting up our classroom space, and getting to know them a bit better. Jet lag hits hard though, so it may be a few days until everyone feels back to normal.
Here is a picture of the main entrance to the market. I know the building has some history to it, from the time the Moors were in Spain...much of the architecture and tile patterns have a heavy Moroccan influence here in southern Spain. ( I know this is rather vague, and as I educate myself more on the history of the region, I will become better at providing details!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Alhaurin de la Torre

Something-of-the-tower is as much translation as I can get for the town's name, Alhaurin de la Torre. It's such a cute town! I walked around the other day with the family dog, Yogi, and took some pictures of the streets and plazas....
The Torre! In the middle of town on the main street, I suppose this is official tower.

This is the street where I was staying temporarily. (In a house, not on the street of course.)

One of the many little courtyards, or plazas, in town, surrounded by apartments

Fun shop I passed by...but didn't get to stop in because I had the dog with me. I'll go back, if I can find it again...

I took this picture because I love the pedestrian alleys in town, and how they're made of that red tile and stone designs. Very cool.

On nearly every building there is a tile design...I may go around one day and take pics of all the different patterns!

Yogi was ready to go home.

 On a side note, the family I will be working with arrived in Spain today! I'm looking forward to getting to know the girls, and having a fun school year. Tomorrow we may be going to get churros and coffee (my sombra doble), and of course hot chocolate to dip the churros in...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wrapping couches in IKEA (ee-kay-uh)

So as my plane was landing last week in Malaga, we flew in just after sunset over the Mediterranean. I soaked it all was light enough to see the outlines of the mountains, the ripples in the water, and the coastline...but dark enough to see city lights dotted along the coast, up the mountains, illuminating the..ooooh IKEA! Who knew?? I was excited to see something so familiar and useful, really, when settling into a new place for an extended period of time. Tonight I had the chance to go to Ikea Malaga, and it is...the same as in the US. Well, I pretty much expected that. But it was still fun to walk around the model living rooms and kitchens and sit on multiple couches and watch fake tv. My friend Lily was in the market for some new furniture, and was successful in finding a pair of nice leather couches in the as-is section, at a nice discount! When we finally made it to the front of the line for delivery drop off, we were informed, however (after a few translation missteps and looks of confusion), that since they were not purchased new and had been final sale items, they weren't responsible if for any damages incurred (is that the word I want?) during delivery. Well, that's a bummer, but they've already been paid over we go to the rolls of brown packing paper to wrap them to the best of our abilities! It was an interesting experience...(see picture below)
By the time we were done gift wrapping her couches, it was 9:30pm...which is dinnertime! So, off we went to have some tapas at a nearby shopping plaza. Yum!

Tomorrow, maybe some pictures of the town I'm living in...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining a small group of people on a trip to Marbella, a beach town about 45 minutes from Malaga. This was my first trip to the beach here, which I definitely wanted to do while it's still warm! We left the house in later afternoon, and got out to Marbella around 4:00pm. The weather was ideal...warm enough to enjoy the sunshine, and as the evening went on we were still able to sit outside comfortably with a light jacket. We walked down to the water, had some coffee and pastries at a cafe on the walkway by the beach (comparable to a boardwalk or strand) and walked around a little shopping center that was a maze of little narrow alleyways and courtyards. It's definitely a tourist spot, as most of the people I walked past were conversing in English. Many people from the UK vacation down here actually. Even here in the smaller town I'm living in, Alhaurin, there are a number of people from England. are some photos from our trip. First of the Mediterranean Sea, then the shopping alleys...

Sombra doble, what's that?

Coffee is very important to me. I don't drink it so much for the caffeine (as I have been known to often indulge in a cup of night coffee) as for the warmth and comfort it brings. Here in Spain the coffee is espresso based, which is rather strong for my tastes. One of the first things the family I am staying with taught me is how to order coffee locally. Cafe con leche is half espresso, half milk. A nube (cloud) is about a quarter espresso and the rest milk, and a sombra (literally translated = shadow) is in between these two. Since we Americans like our portions big, I like to order the doble (double), which is a large. So, there it is! My coffee drink of choice (so far) is a sombra doble, or a double shadow :)
(sidenote- they also informed me this is a regional thing, so if you find yourself anywhere other than the southern coast of Spain, don't follow this advice!)

Bienvenidos a mi blog! Welcome to my blog! My first entry...I feel pressure to impress with eloquent ramblings of the beauty and splendor of the Spanish culture and countryside. It is beautiful, but alas, I am not very eloquent or articulate in my writing. Or speech. But I will do my best to keep an updated log of my life and adventures here in Spain.

As many of you know, I am staying on the southern coast of Spain, near the city of Malaga. I will actually be living in a village just outside of the city called Alhaurin de la Torre. I have been here for a full week as of today! I am staying with one of the missionary families that has been living here for about a year and a half, the Galloways. They have been kind enough to open their home to me and my 4 pieces of luggage. (hey, you try packing your life into suitcases for 10 months. not easy!) They have a beautiful home right in town, within easy walking distance of the market, a park, and any little cafe or shop you could want. If you picture a cute, charming European town with narrow one way streets and little cafes on the corner, that's Alhaurin de la Torre. Either today or tomorrow I hope to just walk around and take pictures, so they will be up on here soon!

The family I will be homeschooling for arrives on Saturday, and I am very much looking forward to meeting them! At that point I will probably be moving to stay in another house, a little bit outside of the main town. My living situation is a bit up in the air, but rest assured I will always have somewhere to stay! There are just a few possibilities at this point, and we just need to wait and see which one will work out the best. It is a good practice in being flexible and go with the flow...

Yesterday we went a beautiful coastal town called Marbella, and I will soon make another post with picture from there. Since it is nearly 2:00pm here, it's almost time for lunch. (biggest meal of the day) I think we are having homemade gazpacho with fresh baguettes...mmm...bread...